Dongguan (China): Gaganjeet Bhullar added to his growing reputation with a four-under par 68 that saw him jump from overnight 46th to tied 27th at the midway stage of the USD 7 million WGC-HSBC Champions here on Friday.
The 24-year-old Bhullar is three-under 141 for 36 holes and a good showing over the weekend will boost his rankings further.
The other Indian star in the field, veteran Jeev Milkha Singh carded 71 to be tied for 38th place at one-under 143 in Asia`s richest event and lone World Golf Championships in the region.
Louis Oosthuizen carded a new course record score of nine-under 63 and moved into pole position and held a whopping five-shot lead over Adam Scott (68) and Ernie Els (63).
Oosthuizen, winner of the 2010 Open Championship, where he held a five-shot lead after two rounds at St. Andrews, dominated the field at Mission Hills with a course record.
Oosthuizen, runner-up at the Masters this year, however saw the course record being equalled by senior and fellow South African Ernie Els (63). He was 16-under, while Scott and Els were 11-under.
Bhullar had five birdies against a lone bogey on the par-5 15th at the Olazabal course.
"It seems like the game is coming back. Today, I hit the ball so good. It was surprising to miss so many putts. Two more days, hopefully I`ll start reading the greens a bit better. I`m looking forward to shooting some low digits," said Bhullar, who won the Venetian Macau Open and Yeangder Tournament Players Championship in Taipei recently.
Bhullar tied 10th in the co-sanctioned Asian Tour and PGA Tour event in Malaysia last week, went straight to the practice putting green to work on his lines on the "paspalum" greens.
"This kind of grass, we hardly play on them throughout the season. I guess the more you play on them this week, the better you become. That`s the goal setting for me," he said.
"After playing 36 holes on these greens, I have a better idea for tomorrow`s round. I`m going back to work on my 10 to 12 footers. That`s the goal tomorrow. If I put those in, I`ll be right in it. The guys are going low, this is a WGC and we`ve got the world`s best players here. You never know, a few more good rounds and you`ll be up there," said Bhullar.
Jeev shot four birdies but dropped a double bogey on 12 and another bogey on 15.
"I think it was a bad error on 12. I took a wrong club for my second shot. I came up short and tried to get greedy with my chip. I chipped and it came back and then chipped it past and two putted for a six," he said.
"I putted better today. The scores are there to be taken. There are five par fives which are all reachable. You`ve got to shoot four or five under every day. Shooting one under or even par puts you back behind the field. I`m still making sure that I`m getting better with my finger and I feel I need to sharpen up my short game. I`m working towards that and hopefully it`ll come around," added Jeev, winner of the Scottish Open in July.
Starting the day level with Australian Scott, Oosthuizen picked up six shots in five holes around the turn to take control of the event.
Having initially dropped back with a bogey at the second, birdies at the third and fifth steadied the ship before the five-time European Tour winner`s putter caught fire; a 50 footer for eagle at the seventh and 30 foot birdie effort at the next both dropping.
Oosthuizen birdied the long ninth and followed that with a 35 foot effort at the tenth, before tapping in for another gain at the long 11th and picking up further shots with six foot putts at the 15th and 16th.
This year`s Open runner-up Scott added a 68 and was joined in second place when the man who pipped him to the Claret Jug matched the course record set just a little earlier.